Recently due to the lack of funds I have had to close the doors to educating agencies and individuals about Parental Child Abduction. Of course I do believe that this will not be permanent.
With that said I have still been very busy speaking with a legal aid that educates under a grant on International Parental Child Abduction. Thanks to this group I have been able to educate a much wider group of Federal, State and local agencies.
This past February I spoke at the Dallas Lawyers Bar Association. One of the law firms present recently contacted: asking for my help in a court case. One of their clients had allegedly taken their children against a court order and restraining order. Since the children had been returned to their custodial parent they had completely changed in personality and character.
The children had continually run away from home and have been accused of stealing. One of the children is currently in a juvenile detention facility. Sadly, the parent who took the children also has a criminal and arrest record.
I was asked to give testimony about the effects of Parental Abduction post recovery. The client I was testifying for did not want the children to give testimony due to the beliefs they now held after being taken against an order. The petitioner also wanted the contempt charge enforced for breaking the order. The respondent wanted to have the contempt charges dropped and be given custody.
Now before I go further I wish to explain some details about the case history.
Over a year ago the petitioner filed a Restraining Order against the Respondent. The order covered her and the children. From what I understand there was abuse before the filing. The court made the order official and a date was set.
The day of the court hearing the respondent did not appear before the court, but instead picked the children up from school and left the county. The children spent two months out of school before he placed them in a school system. Later when the children were found and returned visitation was set up and custody given to the petitioner.
The exchange was to be at the local police station each and every time. Problems persisted through the following periods of exchange. The children were not returned or returned late: they began to steal and be disrespectful to the respondent and her family.
One daughter ran away with the help of a bus ticket. The respondent insisted he did not help her in any way. Another young child, now in detention refuses to live with his mother and wants to live with his father.
I was contacted by the attorney representing the petitioner to help give advise about the effects children may experience post an abduction. Now there has not been a ruling of abduction in this case yet, but the petitioner does have the right to accuse the respondent of abduction. Like any crime the accused must be found guilty first.
I did not meet with or talk with the children at any time prior testifying. I believe that since I am not a psychologist I should not try and influence the children. I do believe that they need psychological evaluation and therapy.
For this reason while testifying I did state that a child having gone through classical parental abduction should not be allowed to give their opinion. I did state that a professional psychologist should evaluate them and speak on their behalf. This also goes along with case study and experience.
Weather or not I was successful I do hope that the judge will either request an evaluation or deny the petitioner’s request. Simply, why would you have the victim of an abduction testify to the affect that their abductor is innocent and that they desire to stay in that environment.
We must treat Parental Abduction like any other abduction. It is a crime; a crime of love and selfishness. Like many case studies, this one slips into a very normal mode of action and history. In the end the children suffer the most in emotional damage.
When a parent steals their children their trust is broken and confused. When a parent takes a child to escape a court ruling it is also criminal. Lastly, when a parent tries to later have the same children testify that they are not guilty and that they should not be penalized it is also a crime.
My final words.
Testifying in any court can be a terrifying experience and a great learning tool. I never sweat so much in my life or was beat up so badly by cross examination. In the end; if you believe in your cause and you know your field, don’t back down. It will turn out good in the end.
I wish all of you luck.